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Chris Blocker

Literary snobbery and other thoughts by Chris Blocker

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Review: Listen to Me

Listen to Me - Hannah Pittard

Hannah Pittard's latest, her third novel, is a very quick read with a straightforward story line. On the surface, this novel has many simple components. The setting takes places mostly in the car. There are primarily two characters: Mark and Maggie. Even the language seems toned back compared to Pittard's previous offerings—here sentences convey a simple meaning and are not dressed in the beauty indicative of Pattard's writing style.

Despite being wrapped in a thin layer, Listen to Me is heavier than is immediately evident. A seemingly endless road trip is the catalyst for much reflection by both protagonists. Philosophical questions are raised, particularly about fear, the need for fellowship, and the desensitization of our modern Internet culture. It's easy to rush through this book, walk away with a story about a couple, a floundering marriage, and a road trip; however, with a little care and rumination, one will notice the prickles of thought about their own deep-seated phobias.

For me, the end comes about too quickly. I'd like to have seen more resolution, a more gradual recognition of self-awareness and adaptation at the novel's turning point by the two characters. Aside from these final chapters, I felt the story was paced exceptionally well. Some readers may be hoping to get somewhere faster, but it is the story of a road trip, after all. It's only natural to ask, “are we there yet?,” and be content when the answer is a resounding no. Just sit back, enjoy the ride, and think not only about where you're going, but where you're coming from.